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In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music
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In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From the author of the bestselling The Catcher Was a Spy comes an exhilarating exploration of the performers, places, and experiences which form country music--a genre which is uniquely and authentically American. 40 photos.


From the Hardcover edition.
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Trevor John
Alright, this will be my last review of the day since I am being uninspired and straightforward. Just like this book. Well, except that I would have to pause here and there to interject a self conscious sentence straight out of a thesaurus to remind you that I'm above my material and have no business being here. This is less for the country music fan and more for the curious NPR listener who saw "O Brother Where Art Thou" and loves to hate Garth Brooks. The writer stakes his claim by recounting...more
J
In The Country Of Country is enthralling. Nicholas Dawidoff has compiled hours of research and interviews with country singers and musicians and their acquaintances to put together a real down home study of some of those folks who have made country music great. From Jimmie Rodgers to Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Flatlanders, Dawidoff uses the experiences of the people who have been there to go a long way towards explaining what country music is all about.

There's a great deal of (deserved) ranco...more
Chrissa
Reading this was a reminder of songs that I had heard and forgotten growing up. Each section on individual singers or groups sent me to YouTube for hours of hunting through songs both familiar and unfamiliar.

While I'm not a musician, I found the descriptions of the lives in the early and middle part of the twentieth century fascinating. The use of music to mark cultural boundaries and to escape (for the men)the lives they might otherwise have led while remaining connected to a community offered...more
Greg
In The Country of Country bills itself as a look at the history of country music. But if apply the same method of picking and choosing what you consider "country music" as does author Nicholas Dawidoff, then half of this book has nothing to do with country music. Dawidoff is plainly not a fan of "Hot Country", which is the equivalent of Top 40 in the pop world. By discounting that as a separate style of music, then one must also throw out his chapter on Bill Monroe (not country: bluegrass), John...more
Mark
It's all too easy, when thinking of country, to think of singers and bands that are called country because marketing needed a label to fix on them. Living in the town where Garth Brooks went to college does not help that impression. This book is on the other side of country, that which falls into what Emmylou Harris calls 'roots music.' It's the music of the people, their sorrows, their joys, their lives, and at its best, it's powerful in the same way as the best of the blues. Visceral, it's lik...more
Dusty
I have to admire Nicholas Dawidoff, the Ivy League Yankee who liked country music and decided to interview his favorite artists for a book. As another reviewer points out, it's a kind of incongruous read, with Dawidoff reflecting on poverty and southern values he knows only through music. But still, I think it's an effective although eccentric introduction to the development of country music between Jimmie Rodgers and Emmylou Harris. It has certainly kept me busy downloading songs from iTunes.

Of...more
Jonathan
Based on extensive interviews, each chapter of Dawidoff's book is an examination of the life, influences, and influence of a particular country music great. These included some I'd heard of before (Jimmy Rogers, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris) and some I hadn't (Sister Rose Maddox, The Louvin Brothers, Kitty Wells). Dawidoff has an agenda, which is to show laud this music, music that addresses life in all its heaviness, workingclass or rural poor, faith or faithlessness, and rip on the "hat acts,"...more
Denise
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book, which consists of essays about several different country artists. The author's insights proved interesting and I learned a lot I didn't know about the "old-timey" music. Dawidoff has a real disdain for the "hat acts" of new country, and the newer pop sounding music. Because the book was published in the late 90's some of his references are a bit dated. Many of the sketches of the people he wrote about really struck me. Many struggled through really diffi...more
Morris
An excellent book on Country Music. It highlights the movers and shakers of Country Music and separates the wheat from the chaff... Garth Brooks, bad country... Buck Owens, good country... the author interviews many personalities from the world of country, songwriters, and musicians... great stories and good up close looks at some of country's brightest stars and innovators... I discovered, Iris Dement and picked up a Kitty Wells cd, she was great... Country Music, the old stuff, not the slick,...more
Catherine
Jul 30, 2008 Catherine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans to learn their history and anyone else who is interested in real country music
Excellent book! Takes you to the roots of country music and how it originated as a regional sound, from bluegrass to Texas swing to the Nashville sound, and the influence of the particular cultures in each area (a big one being the African-American community that is often overlooked as a huge influence). Also, discusses all of the greats from The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Jones, Cash, Loretta, Rose Maddox, etc. Historical and entertaining!
Fraser
This book was a revelation to me as I clearly knew so very little about the formation and artists of country music. Certainly names were often familiar but this book gave me a much greater understanding not only of them but the music.

An enjoyable read which has led me to explore so much further.
Nick
Great set of essays about country music and the people who make it. Kind of quirky, in that some people, like Steve Earle, are mentioned but not profiled. But an excellent tour of past and present giants in the genre.
Erin
Apr 09, 2007 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: heartbreakers, hillmillies
Shelves: musicana
Fantastic collection of essays on the giants of country music that really gets to the heart of what makes good country music great - think sorrow, regret and everything we've ever lost and will.
Carly
Please remember two stars on Goodreads is an "ok" rating. That's what I felt (or rather didn't feel) about this book. It is ok....
Elizabeth
A series of essaies about country music and the people who make it. Organized by geography. A great read.
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